Water Productivity and Economic Profitability of Maize Plantation on Raised Beds Under Drip Irrigation and Conventional Ridge Planting
Muhammad Asif*, Muhammad Asim Rafique, Abu Zar Rindhwa
Directorate Agriculture, On Farm Water Management, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan
Water productivity can be enhanced by using drip irrigation on raised beds to minimize water wastage. This was demonstrated in field trials carried out on farmers' fields with Maize (Zea mays L.) in semi-arid area during 2020 and 2021. This study compared water productivity, crop yield and economic profitability of raised beds under drip irrigation with bed furrow and conventional ridge planting. Three treatments, T1 (raised bed planting with drip irrigation), T2 (bed planting with furrow irrigation) and T3 (ridge planting with furrow irrigation) were designed. Data on yield parameters, water productivity and quality parameters were recorded. Results revealed that the treatment of raised bed planting with drip irrigation (T1) was found to be superior as it showed significantly higher grain yield (7.67 and 8.2 t/ha) compared to bed furrow (T2; 5.91 and 6.2 t/ha) and conventional ridge furrow (T3; 3.99 and 4.6 t/ha) treatments during 2020 and 2021, respectively. Plant height, 1000-gain weight, grain yield/cob and grain protein contents of T1 treatment were significantly higher than in the other planting methods. Maximum water productivity (3.25 and 4.65 kg/ha m³) was also obtained from T1 treatment with 34% and 54% water savings compared to bed furrow and 60% and 63% water saving compared to ridge furrow treatments during 2020 and 2021 seasons, respectively. The results suggest that both crop and water productivity can be enhanced by adopting drip irrigation on raised beds in Punjab, Pakistan, where water wastage is a common issue.